Becoming a Lactation Consultant in Hawaii – HI
Since the occupation of lactation consultant is a relatively new profession that is still defining itself, there are few schools that directly cater to lactation consultant education. Therefore, students wanting to gain entry into the field can begin by enrolling in institutes of higher learning that offer associate, bachelor, master, and doctorate degrees in health care related fields like nursing, health education, long term patient care, and health administration. Students with hectic work schedules, busy home lives, and commuting issues are urged to seek out online and distance learning opportunities that offer similar degree options.
After gaining general education in subjects such as medical terminology, safety procedures, infection control, and patient care, students will need to participate in education and training that is specific to lactation consultation. Luckily, organizations such as the Hawaii Breastfeeding Coalition, Women, Infants, and Children Services (WIC), and Hawaii Mother's Milk exist to provide clinical training, volunteer opportunities, internship positions, and educational courses for lactation consultants. Furthermore, community hospitals and local medical clinics throughout Hawaii also provide education and training. Coursework found in these programs instruct on such lactation topics as the history of breastfeeding, alternative feeding methods, effective counseling techniques, and the composition of human milk.
Although optional, most will select training and education paths that eventually lead to professional lactation consultant certification in Hawaii. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) awards certification for health care professionals that successfully pass a nationally recognized competency examination in lactation consultation. Due to the large amount of practical training needed to satisfy eligibility requirements prior to certification, some individuals will enroll in nursing school to become a registered nurse as well. Once certified, the title of international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) is granted.